Saturday, September 26, 2009

Scope Port Protection: Homebrew

I have heard some horror stories about scopes electronics being fried by dew getting into the external ports on the CPC (eg: aux, PC, etc). This is probably a real issue as you have contacts inside those ports that do carry electricity, dew build-up *could* lead to the possibility of shorting those contacts, leading to (guess what) a fried CPC motherboard.

Hadn't happened to me yet, but I convinced myself that it *could* happen to me and so off I embarked on a small project: to find a cheap and easy way to cover those exposed ports!

So looking at the options here:
You could surf to, where you will find molded 'dust covers' @ .69 cents each + shipping of $4.49 (total $5.18 for one RJ-45 cover, not even adding the RJ-11 dust covers to the equation)
You could go to your local Radio Shack (now called 'The Shack") and pick up 3 RJ-11 connectors and 1 RJ-45 connector, 4 small finishing nails, glue or epoxy and some leftover black paint (paint is optional) and make yourself some nifty plugs for only about $2.00 (save yourself $3.18++, get it done in one day and have the fun of building homebrew... priceless!)

*** Note: I have some basic tools (eg: crimper for connectors) so this option may not be for everyone as you do have to crimp the empty connector to get it to fit into CPC ports. ***

Here is what I did:
- Buy supplies (above incl; 1 rj-45 connector and 3 rj-11 connectors)
- Crimp the connectors to fit into CPC ports
- Pushed finishing nails into the rear of connector (where wires normally go), just enough to hold in place, you should not push them too far in as you don't want them to come in contact with the connector contacts.
- Applied epoxy to nail / rear of connector to hold in place (of note: I oriented the nail such that it pointed downwards or away from the tab on the connectors, time will tell if an upwards or downwards orientation is best, will update blog accordingly)
- Let epoxy set for 2 hours per the instructions
- Painted the units, let them dry for a couple of hours..
- Insert into CPC ports and walk away

Now should you need to unplug covers and plug in a device, just grab the nail and push in the tab, you will be good to go.

As the retail dust covers make no promises about being water-tight or any such thing, this option *should* be at least as good as the dust covers.
I take no responsibility for your scopes *protection* from dew or any other problem that arises from using this method of plugging your CPC external ports.

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